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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2010) . . Page.. 348 ..


moving towards. The construction of infrastructure, particularly long-lived and expensive infrastructure such as a road, should be consistent with a sustainable transport system that reduces reliance on car travel and offers the community fast, accessible and cost-effective alternatives. In fact capital works funding in general should move away from being roads focused. Instead, priority should be actively given to sustainable transport, making pedestrians, cyclists and public transport a priority as a transport mode in planning, traffic and urban design policies. This will have positive outcomes for Canberra’s future. We need a modal shift to this method of transport to combat peak oil, changes in the climate and health problems.

Yet, as my colleague Ms Le Couteur touched on earlier today, there tends to be by the government a business-as-usual approach to transport policies. It continues to provide record funding for roads, at a hugely disproportionate rate to the amount given for cycling and walking. If we consider Denmark’s transport budget, for example, which has a “two-thirds green, one-third black” motto, two-thirds of the transport budget is dedicated to sustainable transport modes and only one-third can be spent on road projects.

I will also address again our concerns in connection with the Cotter Dam and the financial management and project management. While the construction of the dam proceeds, there are still some residual questions about the decision-making process that led to it being constructed at what is a substantially higher cost than was initially indicated. Water and energy infrastructure are issues that are becoming more prominent across the country as we have increasing demands on our resources by an increasing population. The bigger question is about the way in which we develop policy responses to address these issues, and whether we prioritise public money on programs that seek to defer or delay the development of large capital infrastructure. Are we investing in infrastructure that is built on technology of the 21st century rather than on technologies of the last century?

The Greens are keeping a close eye on the government’s plan to build a solar power facility in the ACT. The government has heralded its plan to pursue this development with quite some fanfare. As can be expected, the Greens are very supportive of a solar project getting approval to be built here. We believe it not only stands as an important example of 21st century technology but is an essential part of our energy future, while growing the solar industry base here in the ACT. However, we are concerned that, for all the fanfare, the project may falter if the government does not effectively manage its development properly. Already there have been quite some delays in steps required for the proposals to be assessed. Also, delays in moving ahead with stage 2 of the feed-in tariff have contributed to sending a signal to industry that the ACT is not quite ready for the investment that it is ready to make. We hope that deadlines now set will be met and that decision making on the solar power facility will be thoughtful and timely, ensuring that we do not miss out on this opportunity.

The Greens again call for reform of infrastructure decision making and governance arrangements, as current practice has the potential to merely waste taxpayers’ money. We are concerned about the management of the timing of the expenditures and the quality of the expenditures, or what we are getting for those expenditures. We are troubled by the lack of disclosure of information about the evaluations undertaken for


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